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Todd Howard

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Todd Howard
ToddHoward2010sm (cropped).jpg
Howard in 2010
Born
Todd Andrew Howard

1970 (age 50–51)
Alma materCollege of William & Mary (1993)
OccupationVideo game designer, director, producer
Years active1994–present
EmployerBethesda Game Studios
Known forThe Elder Scrolls, Fallout

Todd Andrew Howard (born 1970) is an American video game designer, director, and producer. He serves as director and executive producer at Bethesda Game Studios, where he has led the development of the Fallout and The Elder Scrolls series.

Early life

Todd Andrew Howard was born in 1970 in Lower Macungie Township, Pennsylvania, to Ronald (Ron) and Priscilla Howard. His elder brother, Jeffrey Mark (Jeff) Howard, was later the "director of creative affairs" for Disney, overseeing the production of Bambi II.[1][2][3] He developed an interest in computers, particularly video games, at a very young age.[4] Howard considers the 1980s role-playing video games Wizardry and Ultima III: Exodus to be inspirations for his future games.[4] He is a 1989 graduate of Emmaus High School in Emmaus, Pennsylvania.[3] In 1993, he graduated from the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, with a major in business while taking computer classes for credit.[2][3] Howard later stated that a business major appeared as the easiest path through college.[2][4]

During the holiday break of his senior year in college, Howard obtained a copy of Wayne Gretzky Hockey (1988) by Bethesda Softworks. On Martin Luther King Jr. Day, he visited the offices of Bethesda Softworks, which he passed by daily on his commute to and from school.[2][4] He asked for a job at the company but was rejected and told that he needed to finish school as a prerequisite. After graduating, he went back to Bethesda for a job but was rejected again due to a lack of job opportunities at the time. Instead, Howard started working for a smaller game company in Yorktown, Virginia, which enabled him to visit several conventions like the Consumer Electronics Show, where he continued approaching Bethesda to request being hired.[4]

Career

Bethesda Softworks eventually recruited Howard in 1994 as a producer.[3][4] His first game development credit for Bethesda was as the producer and designer of The Terminator: Future Shock (1995), followed by work as a designer on Skynet and The Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall, both released in 1996.[5] He was project leader for the first time on The Elder Scrolls Adventures: Redguard, released in 1998.[6]

In 2000, Howard was appointed project leader and designer for The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind and the expansions that followed.[6] The game was released in 2002 and was a critical and commercial success, winning several Game of the Year awards. He then led the creation of The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion (2006) as its executive producer.[7] After this, he served as game director and executive producer of Fallout 3, released in 2008.[8][9]

Howard returned to The Elder Scrolls series to lead the development as the creative director of its fifth installment, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, which was released in November 2011.[10] He subsequently directed Fallout 4, released in November 2015,[11] and Fallout 76, a multiplayer installment in the series that attracted criticism upon its release in November 2018.[12] Howard will also serve as the executive producer of the upcoming game based on the Indiana Jones series of films, currently in development by MachineGames and Lucasfilm Games.[13]

Opinions and recognition

Howard in 2018

Regarding his own views on video games, Howard admitted in 2011 that The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion had sacrificed what made The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind "particular", saying: "With Oblivion, we're dealing with the capital province, and we wanted to get back to the more classic Arena and Daggerfall feel of a fantasy world that felt more refined and welcoming. But in that, we sacrificed some of what made Morrowind special: the wonder of discovery."[14] He said Bethesda's philosophy for The Elder Scrolls games was to allow people to "live another life, in another world".[15]

In 2012, Howard also said he was favorable to modding in video games, claiming he did not understand why many developers do not allow it.[16] In 2016, after the release of Fallout 4, Howard admitted that he was well aware of the criticisms received by the game, especially with regards to the dialogue system, saying: "The way we did some dialogue stuff [in Fallout 4], that didn't work as well. But I know the reasons we tried that – to make a nice interactive conversation – but [it was] less successful than some other things in the game."[17]

Howard has been a frequent speaker at industry events and conferences. He spoke to developers at the 2009 D.I.C.E. Summit, sharing his rules of game development.[18] He returned as a keynote speaker at the 2012 D.I.C.E. Summit.[19] He said developers should ignore demographics and installed base, and follow their passions, saying that "if install base really mattered, we'd all make board games, because there are a lot of tables".[20]

Howard's work has often received attention by the generalist media and press; his games have been featured in Newsweek,[21] CNN,[22] USA Today,[23] and The Today Show.[24] The high popularity of the games Howard has directed and produced has turned him, and some of his quotes, into Internet memes.

Howard was the 16th recipient of a Game Developers Conference Lifetime Achievement Award.[25] The magazine GamePro named him among the "Top 20 Most Influential People in Gaming over the Last 20 Years".[25] Howard also received the D.I.C.E. Award for "Best Game Director" in 2012 and 2016.[25] In 2014, he was awarded the Lara of Honor, a lifetime achievement award from Germany.[25] In 2013, IGN listed Howard 70th in a ranking of "The Top 100 Game Creators of All Time".[26] He was inducted into the Hall of Fame of the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences in 2017.[25] In 2020, Howard received the 2020 Develop Star award for "outstanding achievements and contribution to the industry".[27]

Personal life

Howard married Kimberly Lynn Yaissle, an elementary education teacher, on July 8, 1995, at the St. Thomas More Catholic Church in Allentown, Pennsylvania.[1] He has a son, Luke, who was born in 2003 or 2004.[2]

Works

Year Title Role(s)
1995 The Terminator: Future Shock Production, additional design
1996 Skynet Production, design
The Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall Additional design
1998 The Elder Scrolls Adventures: Redguard Project leader, design, writing
2002 The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind Project leader, original concept
2003 The Elder Scrolls III: Bloodmoon Executive producer
2004 The Elder Scrolls Travels: Shadowkey
2006 The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion
2007 The Elder Scrolls IV: Shivering Isles
2008 Fallout 3 Game director
2011 The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
2012 The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim – Dawnguard
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim – Hearthfire
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim – Dragonborn
2015 Fallout Shelter Executive producer
Fallout 4 Game director
2018 Fallout 76 Executive producer
2022 Starfield Game director
TBA Untitled Indiana Jones project Executive producer

References

  1. ^ a b "Marriage of Yaissle / Howard". The Morning Call. July 9, 1995. p. E4. Archived from the original on February 22, 2021. Retrieved February 22, 2021 – via Newspapers.com.
  2. ^ a b c d e Berthold, Jessica (January 1, 2006). "Life's animated for ex-Valley brothers". The Morning Call. p. E7. Archived from the original on February 22, 2021. Retrieved February 22, 2021 – via Newspapers.com.
  3. ^ a b c d Callahan, Marion (October 28, 2008). "THE BROTHERS HOWARD **Valley natives have action-packed careers with fairy tale endings". The Morning Call. Archived from the original on July 25, 2019. Retrieved August 29, 2018.
  4. ^ a b c d e f Hanson, Ben (January 13, 2011). "Road To Skyrim: The Todd Howard Interview". Game Informer. Archived from the original on March 13, 2014. Retrieved March 12, 2014.
  5. ^ Takashi, Dean (July 4, 2018). "Skyrim director Todd Howard: Why triple-A games are better when you don't play it safe". VentureBeat. Archived from the original on July 30, 2019. Retrieved July 30, 2019.
  6. ^ a b Kane, Alex (March 27, 2019). "Morrowind: An oral history". Polygon. Archived from the original on July 27, 2019. Retrieved July 30, 2019.
  7. ^ "Oblivion to Feature Soundtrack by Jeremy Soule". GameSpot. CBS Interactive. October 21, 2005. Archived from the original on April 11, 2013.
  8. ^ Remo, Chris (October 13, 2008). "Falling Into Fallout 3: Director Todd Howard Talks Scope And Evolution". Gamasutra. Archived from the original on May 8, 2015. Retrieved June 15, 2015.
  9. ^ Gamespot Staff (August 2, 2007). "Fallout 3 Q&A – E3 Thoughts and More". GameSpot. Archived from the original on December 19, 2014. Retrieved June 15, 2015.
  10. ^ Senior, Tom (March 11, 2011). "Bethesda's Todd Howard: "Oblivion sacrificed what made Morrowind special"". PCGamer. Archived from the original on February 22, 2021. Retrieved July 30, 2019.
  11. ^ Hussain, Tamoor (June 3, 2015). "Fallout 4 Officially Confirmed for PC, Xbox One, PS4". GameSpot. Archived from the original on June 17, 2015. Retrieved June 18, 2015.
  12. ^ Avard, Alex (June 3, 2019). "Todd Howard admits criticism of Fallout 76 was "well deserved"". GamesRadar+. Archived from the original on July 30, 2019. Retrieved July 30, 2019.
  13. ^ Skebelts, Joe (January 12, 2021). "Indiana Jones Game Coming from Bethesda and Lucasfilm Games". IGN. Archived from the original on February 22, 2021. Retrieved January 12, 2021.
  14. ^ "Bethesda: Oblivion "sacrificed what made Morrowind special"". Official Xbox Magazine. March 10, 2011. Archived from the original on March 12, 2011. Retrieved August 3, 2019.
  15. ^ Howard, Todd. "The RPG for the Next Generation". The Elder Scrolls Codex. Archived from the original on January 24, 2010.
  16. ^ "Todd Howard: Mods "make your game better", more companies should allow them". VG247. March 1, 2012. Archived from the original on August 3, 2019. Retrieved August 3, 2019.
  17. ^ "Todd Howard acknowledges criticism of dialogue in Fallout 4". Gamereactor. June 16, 2019. Archived from the original on August 3, 2019. Retrieved August 3, 2019.
  18. ^ Totilo, Stephen (February 20, 2009). "DICE 2009: The Following Colorful Wisdom Is From Todd Howard". MTV. Archived from the original on October 21, 2013. Retrieved March 12, 2014.
  19. ^ Mihoerck, Dan (February 8, 2012). "Todd Howard D.I.C.E. 2012 Opening Keynote Address". GameSpot. Archived from the original on November 8, 2016. Retrieved March 12, 2014.
  20. ^ Remo, Chris (February 20, 2009). "DICE 09: Bethesda's Howard On Supreme Playability". Gamasutra. Archived from the original on October 22, 2013. Retrieved March 12, 2014.
  21. ^ Whalen, Andrew (June 13, 2019). "Todd Howard Says 'Starfield' Is a Realistic Extrapolation of Today's Cutting-Edge Space Exploration Technology". Newsweek. Archived from the original on July 29, 2019. Retrieved July 30, 2019.
  22. ^ Frum, Larry (November 10, 2011). "Review: 'The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim' brings fantasy world to life". CNN. Archived from the original on July 30, 2019. Retrieved July 30, 2019.
  23. ^ Molina, Brett (June 15, 2015). "'Fallout 4' launching Nov. 10". USA Today. Archived from the original on July 30, 2019. Retrieved July 30, 2019.
  24. ^ Benedetti, Winda (November 11, 2011). "Five tips for getting the most out of 'Skyrim'". Today. Archived from the original on July 30, 2019. Retrieved July 30, 2019.
  25. ^ a b c d e "Todd Howard to Be Inducted Into the Aias Hall of Fame at the 20th Annual D.I.C.E. Awards Ceremony". Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences. December 14, 2016. Archived from the original on July 25, 2019. Retrieved July 25, 2019.
  26. ^ "Top 100 Game Creators – Todd Howard". IGN. Archived from the original on October 17, 2013. Retrieved April 16, 2013.
  27. ^ "Bethesda's Todd Howard to receive the 2020 Develop Star award for his 'outstanding achievements and contribution to the industry' | Business News". MCV/DEVELOP. March 10, 2020. Archived from the original on September 21, 2020. Retrieved December 28, 2020.

External links